1

thumb

noun \ ˈthəm \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of thumb

1 : the short thick digit of the human hand that is analogous in position to the big toe and differs from the other fingers in having only two phalanges, allowing greater freedom of movement, and being opposable to each of them; also : a corresponding digit in lower animals
2 : the part of a glove or mitten that covers the thumb
3 : a convex molding : ovolo
all thumbs
: extremely awkward or clumsy
under one's thumb or under the thumb
: under control : in a state of subservience
  • her father did not have her that much under his thumb
  • —Hamilton Basso

Examples of thumb in a Sentence

  1. a little girl sucking her thumb

  2. I accidentally cut my thumb.

  3. My mitten has a hole in the thumb.

Recent Examples of thumb from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of thumb

Middle English thoume, thoumbe, from Old English thūma; akin to Old High German thūmo thumb, Latin tumēre to swell


2

thumb

verb

Definition of thumb

intransitive verb
1 : to turn over pages
  • thumb through a book
2 : to travel by thumbing rides : hitchhike
  • thumbed across the country
transitive verb
1 : to request or obtain (a ride) in a passing automobile by signaling with the thumb
2 a : to leaf through (pages) with the thumb : turn
b : to soil or wear by or as if by repeated thumbing
  • a badly thumbed book
thumb one's nose
1 : to express disdain or defiance
  • thumb their nose at opulence
  • Sales Management
2 : to place the thumb at one's nose and extend the fingers as a gesture of scorn or defiance

Examples of thumb in a Sentence

  1. I thumbed a ride to school.

  2. He thumbed his way to New York.

  3. He thumbed across the country.

Recent Examples of thumb from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thumb

circa 1647

thumb Synonyms

Synonyms
hitch, hitchhike
Related Words
bum; stow away; carjack, hijack (also highjack)
Near Antonyms
pore (over); study


THUMB Defined for English Language Learners

thumb

noun

Definition of thumb for English Language Learners

  • : the short, thick finger on the side of your hand

  • : the part of a glove or mitten that covers a thumb


thumb

verb

Definition of thumb for English Language Learners

  • : to ask for or get a ride in a passing vehicle by sticking out your arm with your thumb up as you stand on the side of the road


THUMB Defined for Kids

1

thumb

noun \ ˈthəm \

Definition of thumb for Students

1 : the short thick finger next to the forefinger
2 : the part of a glove covering the thumb

2

thumb

verb

Definition of thumb for Students

thumbed; thumbing
1 : to turn the pages of quickly with the thumb
2 : to seek or get (a ride) in a passing automobile by signaling with the thumb

Medical Dictionary

thumb

noun \ ˈthəm \

medical Definition of thumb

: the short and thick first or most preaxial digit of the human hand that differs from the other fingers in having only two phalanges, in having greater freedom of movement, and in being opposable to the other fingers

Illustration of thumb



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